VPM spends $4M to buy site of future downtown headquarters

vpm building rendering broad street

A rendering of VPM’s planned headquarters that would feature TV and audio studios in addition to event space. (BizSense file images)

VPM has taken another step forward with its plans to relocate to downtown Richmond.

The public media nonprofit recently bought for $4.2 million a 0.7-acre parcel at 13-17 E. Broad St., where the organization intends to build its future headquarters.

The deal follows VPM’s June announcement, in which it unveiled plans to build a five-story, 53,700-square-foot building envisioned to serve as the home of VPM’s news operations as well as a venue for civic programs and events.

The facility is slated to rise on what’s now a parking lot next to the Waller & Co. jewelry store, and the parcel fronts both Broad Street and Grace Street. The seller was an LLC tied to Fred Shaia. The property’s assessed value is $2.2 million, according to online city records.

The property’s acquisition by an LLC tied to VPM was recorded with the city Monday.

The headquarters building is planned to feature studios for TV, audio and digital operations in addition to a ground-floor studio for the community and a space to hold live-broadcast events.

In addition to that building fronting Broad Street, VPM also plans to build a 1,500-square-foot, one-story building to front Grace Street. A parking structure is also expected to be built as part of the project.

Clark Construction has been tapped to be the project’s general contractor. SMBW is the project architect.

VPM in mid-2023 anticipated it would break ground on the project this coming spring, with a planned move-in date of 2026. The organization is currently based at 23 Sesame St. in Chesterfield, where it has been headquartered for six decades.

VPM spokeswoman Benae Mosby on Tuesday didn’t provide details regarding the project’s cost, nor the future of the Chesterfield facility or planned use of the small building slated to rise on Grace Street, which were all said to be things under consideration at the time of the project’s announcement in June.

vpm grace street rendering

A rendering of VPM’s planned 1,500-square-foot, one-story building that would front Grace Street as part of a larger project to build a new headquarters facility in downtown Richmond.

VPM President Jayme Swain previously said in June that VPM was considering selling or leasing parts of the Chesterfield property to other users. She said at the time that VPM planned to maintain a presence at the Chesterfield site because it would continue to need to use the two, 1,000-foot-tall broadcast towers there after the Richmond headquarters is operational.

Swain has previously said the plan to relocate the organization’s headquarters was prompted by the determination that the current Chesterfield headquarters doesn’t have the capacity for the modern-day technology needed by the public media organization.

VPM has multiple TV and radio stations that broadcast in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, including VPM News, the Richmond NPR station. The public media organization also owns Style Weekly, which was relaunched late last year after VPM acquired the publication in 2021.

vpm building rendering broad street

A rendering of VPM’s planned headquarters that would feature TV and audio studios in addition to event space. (BizSense file images)

VPM has taken another step forward with its plans to relocate to downtown Richmond.

The public media nonprofit recently bought for $4.2 million a 0.7-acre parcel at 13-17 E. Broad St., where the organization intends to build its future headquarters.

The deal follows VPM’s June announcement, in which it unveiled plans to build a five-story, 53,700-square-foot building envisioned to serve as the home of VPM’s news operations as well as a venue for civic programs and events.

The facility is slated to rise on what’s now a parking lot next to the Waller & Co. jewelry store, and the parcel fronts both Broad Street and Grace Street. The seller was an LLC tied to Fred Shaia. The property’s assessed value is $2.2 million, according to online city records.

The property’s acquisition by an LLC tied to VPM was recorded with the city Monday.

The headquarters building is planned to feature studios for TV, audio and digital operations in addition to a ground-floor studio for the community and a space to hold live-broadcast events.

In addition to that building fronting Broad Street, VPM also plans to build a 1,500-square-foot, one-story building to front Grace Street. A parking structure is also expected to be built as part of the project.

Clark Construction has been tapped to be the project’s general contractor. SMBW is the project architect.

VPM in mid-2023 anticipated it would break ground on the project this coming spring, with a planned move-in date of 2026. The organization is currently based at 23 Sesame St. in Chesterfield, where it has been headquartered for six decades.

VPM spokeswoman Benae Mosby on Tuesday didn’t provide details regarding the project’s cost, nor the future of the Chesterfield facility or planned use of the small building slated to rise on Grace Street, which were all said to be things under consideration at the time of the project’s announcement in June.

vpm grace street rendering

A rendering of VPM’s planned 1,500-square-foot, one-story building that would front Grace Street as part of a larger project to build a new headquarters facility in downtown Richmond.

VPM President Jayme Swain previously said in June that VPM was considering selling or leasing parts of the Chesterfield property to other users. She said at the time that VPM planned to maintain a presence at the Chesterfield site because it would continue to need to use the two, 1,000-foot-tall broadcast towers there after the Richmond headquarters is operational.

Swain has previously said the plan to relocate the organization’s headquarters was prompted by the determination that the current Chesterfield headquarters doesn’t have the capacity for the modern-day technology needed by the public media organization.

VPM has multiple TV and radio stations that broadcast in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, including VPM News, the Richmond NPR station. The public media organization also owns Style Weekly, which was relaunched late last year after VPM acquired the publication in 2021.

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Matthew Barber
Matthew Barber
6 months ago

$141/ft.??? From a nonprofit? Unreal.

Brian King
Brian King
6 months ago

183 million goes a long way. Money they received from the auction of radio spectrum.

Chris Terrell
Chris Terrell
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian King

It has certainly helped VPM take its game to the next level over the past few years.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
6 months ago

Good that some holes in the Broad Street development will be getting filled in. Hope this helps lift some of the adjacent properties too.

Michael Morgan-Dodson
Michael Morgan-Dodson
6 months ago
Reply to  David Humphrey

Hopefully it will generate some foot traffic is Nama is now closing too. Restaurants are fleeing the arts district as foot traffic has not even come close to returning to the levels from 2019.

Chris Crews
Chris Crews
6 months ago

The group that owns Nama owns several other RVA restaurants. They’ve also cycled through several concepts there in an effort to always keep things “new” and exciting. They’re keeping the space – just closing Nama.

Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
6 months ago
Reply to  Chris Crews

Nama has great food and ambiance, but the service was bad. They were nice enough, but they spent most of the evening on their cell phones.

Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
6 months ago

What are some restaurants you remember that have fled the Arts District? The ones I remember are Comfort and Charm School.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
6 months ago

Restaurants come and go. The really good ones stick around, but even they need to be refreshed once in a while. I’m not too worried when restaurants close unless nothing replaces them, which is not the case here yet.

Mark A. Olinger
Mark A. Olinger
6 months ago

Agree…stunned at the apparent reduction in foot traffic since early 2020. Low energy level feel for sure.

Brett Hunnicutt
Brett Hunnicutt
6 months ago

Impressive place! Can’t wait to see it in action!

karl hott
karl hott
6 months ago

Burning through that windfall spectrum sale fund.

Rob Barker
Rob Barker
6 months ago

the plan to relocate the organization’s headquarters was prompted by the determination that the current Chesterfield headquarters doesn’t have the capacity for the modern-day technology needed 

Tell that to 6 and 12, who’ve seen the “modern-day technology” space requirements shrink enough that they can stay in their own aged buildings.

Justin Reynolds
Justin Reynolds
6 months ago
Reply to  Rob Barker

Have you been to channel 6 and nbc12’s facilities? They’re outdated since they’re owned by large corporations who don’t invest much in their infrastructure.